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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Citing Wigan refund as precedent, fans take beloved clubs to cleaners

Wigan Athletic's decision to refund fans who travelled to their 9-1 humiliation at White Hart Lane has brought about a devastating domino effect as supporters across the country have pushed for compensation payments ranging from £6.50 to £500,000.

After falling victim to Harry Redknapp's new strategy of scoring nine goals, Wigan captain Mario Melchiot declared that his side would be refunding the Latics fans who made the 6,000 mile trip to North London to watch their heroes get flayed by a fairly good side.

Sadly, this well-meaning gesture has had a huge knock-on effect as fans all over the country have submitted invoices to their clubs for past indignities.

Portsmouth face a bill of £6m to pay back the Fratton Park faithful for their dire start to the campaign and the entire crowd for August 29's Blackburn-West Ham bore draw have claimed back their hard-earned cash.

Mr Kevin Ardley, an elderly Grimsby Town fan, has delivered an 8,000-page report to Blundell Park in which he outlines his grievances and demands a settlement of nearly £500,000.

At the other end of the scale, Ian Kirwin of Milton Keynes - a Manchester United fan since 1996 - claimed £35 for "this time my uncle took me to see United play some shitty little team [Exeter City] in the FA Cup and they only drew."

The smallest claim of all was £6.50 from a Tottenham fan demanding compensation for "the 42 minutes when it was only 1-0 and we were missing loads of chances" during the 9-1 win over Wigan.

A few clubs are reportedly considering a "pay as they play" system to combat unforeseen refunds where a collection plate would be passed around after each goal, near miss and punch-up.

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